Following the major motion picture release starring Chloë Grace Moretz, the heart-stopping finale to the New York Times best-selling 5th Wave series The enemy is Other. The enemy is us. They're down here, they're up there, they're nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us. But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others and now by ourselves. In these last days, Earth's remaining survivors will need to decide what's more important: saving themselves...or saving what makes us human.
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It is painful to give this only three stars. Especially since I thought the first book was so well done. I had high hopes for how the series would end. But sadly, I'm disappointed.
It has a lot of the elements that made the other two successful - well developed characters, well developed relationships, loads and loads of action, and some twists and revelations, solid writing. But the problem I had with it is that the premise/plot just got more and more preposterous as the series went on.
In the first novel, it is an alien invasion. That in itself is always an interesting premise, but this particular invasion was done very well, was somewhat unique, and the way the story unfolded we were left with many questions that we were eager to have answered. In the second novel, the author decided he didn't like his premise - even stated so in interviews, and decided in some ways it didn't make sense to him. So no longer are we dealing with an invasion. Okay, so then the big question we are left with in the second book is what are we dealing with, what are these aliens up to and what exactly is happening here?
I can't tell you, as it would be a spoiler, but the answer given in the final book is just flat out silly. And makes a whole lot less sense than the original story premise that the author rejected. I suppose it was necessary to explore a theme that the writer seemed to really find fascinating (what is humanity, what makes us human, how could you destroy who we are on a fundamental level, etc). I didn't find it a fascinating enough theme though to justify contriving such a wacky turn regarding the aliens and why all this was happening. The motivation of the aliens makes absolutely NO sense at all. Again, I don't want to spoil any plot points, but given what we are told the aliens hoped to achieve, it really, really makes no sense at all - yet continually is presented as the "only" solution. I can easily think of many alternate solutions that would be far less pointlessly vicious, much more effective, much more logical, and would likely require less resources and energy, though again, to propose them here gives away the story a bit, so I won't.
And the notion there is some kind of altruistic motive makes no sense too, given what the aliens did. So ok, is it some kind of interplanetary conservation effort or something ? Again, it makes no sense. If we take the insect analogy the writer uses at several points in the story, and apply it to humans and insects, there is NO WAY we would look at even insects and think this is a good solution, or makes sense in any way. And it seems to me that it wouldn't even work... And it would only have a chance of working if the aliens were to stay forever to keep it going... Okay, given that, why not stay forever and do something else - any of the MANY alternatives, which I won't propose as I can't spoil it, but just a little thought and anyone can think of other ways that make way more sense. It reminded me of The Day the Earth Stood Still, but the solution is just preposterous and not something any species that valued life would do - at least not an intelligent species...
Also, the notion of a benevolent motive was muddled with all the clear hate of humanity, and outright evil actions... And it just isn't plausible that aliens would go to this much trouble just to be evil with nothing to gain and no one to benefit really, but also wouldn't do this if they wanted to be saviors. And if we are to assume that the nature of the aliens is that same nature they want to instill in the humans, that they already embody the "solution", then by the very solution itself, the aliens should never have developed enough to be able to do all this in the first place... (It is hard to explain without spoilers) The motivations just made NO sense. Which is really weird as the writer rejected his original motivation as he thought it made no sense, though I would ague it made far more sense than this turn of events.
When it is finally fully explained what is going on, my feeling was "wait.... what?"... It seemed so anticlimactic in that it really was just weak in so many ways and didn't make sense. So without that major aspect being worthwhile in this story, we are left with your typical YA stuff, and that is more emphasized in this book- the banter and relationships of the characters, who ends up with whom, who is a bad guy, who is a good guy, who is a hero, loads of fights and action scenes, how do these teens deal with their crisis, and teen romance, etc... It is pretty typical stuff. That said, those who enjoy that will enjoy this and the writing is still strong. I however found that once the main premise and plot had degraded to silliness, the little skirmishes and battles got very dull, and the tension had diffused for me, as I couldn't get past the many jarring aspects of the plot which had really devolved.
The narrators do a wonderful job - as with the other two books.
I listened attentively for the first two hours, though I did initially stop after a few minutes since it starts with the priest--a completely new character I wasn't interested in. I was generally bored or confused in the first couple of hours. So many POVs made the story feel too disjointed.
Then I started listening less attentively for the next couple hours and finally with half an ear. So in the end, I'm really not clear what the explanation for the whole the "alien invasion" story was. Apparently a lot of people (who presumably listened or read more attentively than I) were confused.
But had he not dropped the ball with his characters, I would have at least been interested in their stories. But there just wasn't anything there. Yancy spent so much time developing his characters and their stories in the first two books, but in this book (other than one character), nothing.
The only thing good about this book was the two fantastic audio narrators.